Hyperopia, or farsightedness is a condition where a child or adult can see distant objects more clearly that objects that are near. It is a condition that can be inherited. Much of the time the farsighted eye is smaller than normal and the light rays do not focus properly on the retina at the back of the eye and causes blurring. Some children can have higher amounts of hyperopia which can cause a constant blurry image in one or both eyes and can prevent normal visual development.
Typically infants and young children are somewhat farsighted, but this becomes less pronounced as the eye grows. If not recognized early, this condition can result in permanent visual loss.
In addition, higher than normal amounts of hyperopia in children can cause inward crossing of the eyes. That happens typically between ages two and seven. Treatment with eyeglasses can correct the eye misalignment (strabismus).
Myopia or nearsightedness is when a child or person can see near objects more clearly than distant objects. If you notice that your child is holding objects very closely and squinting, it may indicate significant myopia.
A myopic eye causes light from distant objects to be focused before they reach the retina, and it results in blurred vision for distant objects. Excessive myopia in children could result in lazy eye (amblyopia).
As a precaution, take your child to an optometric physician for an exam at a young age.
William C. Womble, O.D.
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